The Cubs are leaving NBC Sports Chicago after this season, but their biggest fan at the network isn’t going with them. The network announced this week it reached an agreement with David Kaplan on a multiyear deal.
Kaplan is in his 25th year hosting Cubs pre- and postgame shows on radio or TV. The team is planning to launch the Marquee Sports Network next season, but Kaplan is thrilled to be staying at NBCSCH, which he joined in 2008, when it was called Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
“I’m not saying no to something else, I’m saying yes to them,” Kaplan said. “I wake up every day, and I’m exceptionally blessed. I love where I work.
“I am always going to be a Cubs fan, and I will miss doing the pre- and postgame, but as NBC has told me, they want me to cover the team. So I am going to cover the Cubs as closely as I ever have.”
NBCSCH senior vice president/general manager Kevin Cross announced that Kaplan will expand his cross-platform responsibilities beginning in October as the network creates additional fan-focused content. Kaplan, who will continue to host “SportsTalk Live,” also expects to be involved in the coverage of sports gambling, which he’s passionate about.
Next on Kaplan’s docket is his ESPN 1000 contract, which expires in mid-September.
“We’re going to have those conversations, and hopefully I will continue to do the show,” said Kaplan, who hosts “Kap & Company” weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. “I love doing it, and I hope to be there. That’s my plan.”
Cubs fans will get their fill of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” crew starting this weekend with the game against the Cardinals. It’s the first of three consecutive “SNB” appearances for the Cubs, who will host the Brewers next Sunday and visit the Nationals the following week. Matt Vasgersian, analysts Alex Rodriguez and Jessica Mendoza and reporter Buster Olney will be on the call.
The Cardinals-Cubs game Saturday, which will air locally on Ch. 9, is the opener to FS1’s national doubleheader at 3:05 p.m. Joe Buck, analyst John Smoltz and reporter Ken Rosenthal will call it. It’ll be followed by Athletics-Pirates.